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Firms covering large majority of nation's workers view health benefits as important recruitment tool

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Despite intense health care cost pressures, firms covering more than 90 percent of the nation's workforce view health benefits as an important tool to attract and retain qualified workers, according to a national study by researchers at the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC) and The Commonwealth Fund published in the November/ December edition of Health Affairs.

Moreover, firms employing two-thirds of all workers, including both firms that do and do not offer health benefits, agreed that "all employers should share in the cost of health insurance for employees, either by covering their own workers or by contributing to a fund to cover the uninsured," the study found.

"Despite concerns about rapidly rising health costs, the study indicates that many employers remain committed to playing a key role in the private insurance system many working Americans depend on for health coverage," said HSC Health Researcher Heidi Whitmore, lead author of the study funded by the Commonwealth Fund.

The study also examined employers' attitudes about public policies aimed at expanding health coverage, reducing administrative expenses and improving the quality of care, finding they generally support such incremental steps.

"Employers are willing to step up to the plate and share responsibility for paying for health insurance coverage for workers," said Sara Collins, an assistant vice president at the Commonwealth Fund and coauthor of the study, along with Jon Gabel and Jeremy Pickreign of HSC.

The Health Affairs article, titled "Employers' Views on Incremental Measures to Expand Health Coverage" is based on a special Commonwealth Fund-supported supplement to the 2005 Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research and Educational Trust survey of employer health benefits, a nationally representative telephone survey of 2,013 public and private nonfederal employers with three or more workers. The survey respons
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Contact: Mary Mahon
mm@cmwf.org
212-606-3853
Commonwealth Fund
14-Nov-2006


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